Groups like 'Amway' are pernicious or criminogenic cults
As you know, over the years, I have talked with various commentators who have written extensively about the pernicious virus of 'MLM business opportunity' fraud. Most of these people have, to date, deliberately steered clear of the word, 'cult,' when describing groups like 'Amway'. Primarily, because there is no universally-accepted legal definition of a 'cult,' but also because it is not their field of expertise and they fear expensive litigation.
In reality, cultic groups are part of an ongoing, criminogenic phenomenon which can be briefly, but not accurately, defined. Contemporary cultic groups can, however, be accurately identified by comparing the characteristics which they exhibit (externally and internally) to those which pernicious or criminogenic cultic groups have universally exhibited (externally and internally) historically. In simple terms, you can't really define an elephant, but you can easily identify an elephant if you first look closely at other known elephants and discover what their identifying features were - colour, size, shape, diet, etc.
The American author, Steve Hassan, is one of the few well-informed commentators on cultism to have written about 'Amway' and 'MLM' groups. Almost certainly for legal reasons, he has previously concentrated his attention on 'Amway Networks' or 'Amway Motivational Organizations', which he has openly-described as (internally) using mind control techniques, identical to those employed by cults presented (externally) as 'religious' groups. Steve Hassan has also gone on record as having counselled several persons who have left 'Amway' and who have been exhibiting chronic, psychological deterioration symptoms (generally indicative of cult victims) as a direct result of their 'MLM' adherence. Indeed, the courageous American 'Amway' whistle-blower, Eric Scheibeler, has himself gone on record as having received cult exit-counselling from Steve Hassan.
Your free-thinking readers will observe that, for years, I have been openly-describing the labyrinths of corporate structures run by the bosses of 'MLM' gangs as pernicious or criminogenic cults, and without the slightest challenge from their (usually-aggressive) echelons of attorneys. Furthermore, I have openly-described 'Multi-level Marketing' as the technical-sounding, made-up name for a fraudulent, economic pseudo-science, the claimed benefits of which have never been quantifiable; again, without the slightest legal challenge. (Although, from time to time, 'MLM' apologists have huffed and puffed).
The reason why I have not been sued by these cultic racketeers for defamation, is that they know that I am armed with a comprehensive list of the universal characteristics which historically have been exhibited (internally and externally) by pernicious or criminogenic cults.
Unfortunately, very few people have sought out sufficient background information to be able to form a lucid picture of cultism.
The first identifying characteristic of a cult is deception:
Pernicious cults are presented externally as traditional associations. These can be arbitrarily defined by their instigators as almost any banal group (religious, cultural, political, commercial, etc.). However, internally they are always totalitarian (i.e. they are centrally-controlled and require of their core-adherents an absolute subservience to the group and its patriarchal, and/or matriarchal, leadership above all other persons). By their very nature, pernicious cults never present themselves in their true colours. Consequently, no one ever becomes involved with one as a result of his/her fully-informed consent.